NOVOCERAM: GREEN COMMITMENT – The first Ecolabel and ISO14001certified ceramic tile producer in France
Novoceram, a French ceramic tile manufacturer established in 1863, is the first ceramic producer in France to have been awarded the Ecolabel quality mark for its product range and the only French ceramic tile manufacturer to have obtained the ISO 14001 certification for its environmental management system.
One of the most important core values at Novoceram, the French ceramic tile manufacturer that has been in existence since 1863, is safeguarding the environment, as can been seen from the many important quality certifications that the company has been awarded over the years. The company meets all requirements set forth by law and in addition it has adopted the ISO 14001 voluntary environmental management system, so all products are manufactured in full respect of the environment and in accordance with the requirements defined by the Ecolabel quality mark, the European certification that guarantees the eco-compatibility of consumer goods.
ISO 14001: Novoceram is the only ceramic tile producer in France to have obtained ISO 14001 certification, an industry standard that outlines the requirements needed for the environmental management system and requires the constant improvement of environmental performance. The certification is testament to the considerable investment to reduce energy and water consumption that Novoceram has made in its production site, and leads the way to company achieving even more ambitious goals. In order to achieve these results, the company has dedicated all its corporate procedures, from production to office departments, to control and reduce the environmental impact of all activities. Today, almost all of the total of raw waste is internally recycled and the production of fired waste has been reduced by 38% over the time span from 2007 to 2014. Similarly, in the more exposed areas of the factory, the amount of silica powder released into the atmosphere has been reduced by 88% over the time span from 2004 to 2013. Moreover, the company has implemented important changes in the management of natural resources: the water consumption per square metre has been reduced by 57% over the time span from 2007 to 2014 and the gas consumption per square metre by 6% over the time span from 2007 to 2014.
ECOLABEL: Ecolabel is a European mark of environmental quality created by the European Community in 1992 to guarantee the environmental friendliness of products throughout their entire lifespan, from raw material selection to their final disposal as well as through to the manufacturing and distribution processes. Environmental criteria are determined in order to certify a maximum of 30% of all products available on the market.
Novoceram was the first ceramic tile company in France to be awarded the Ecolabel mark for all its collections. The reason behind the decision to put every single one of its collections forward for classification stemmed from the desire to promise customers that the company really did believe that it would be possible to create something that would push the boundaries of the current technology in the industry, would improve the quality of life and also be eco friendly.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the company undertook a series of important steps:
- • Better management of waste and control of energy consumption.
- • Intensification of laboratory tests on products to check their non-polluting action.
- • With reference to raw material selection: all suppliers of raw materials for ceramic mixes were required to complete a technical form and carry out an environmental impact test on their products. Those who did not comply with EU regulations were removed from the list of suppliers. Despite Ecolabel criteria only compelling the reduction of so called CMR products (cancer-causing, mutagen, pathogen), Novoceram decided to also ask suppliers to totally eliminate all glaze components containing lead, cadmium and antimony in order to use 100% « clean » raw materials.
The process leading towards obtaining Ecolabel classification has been the driving force in the re-thinking of all working procedures in the production plant, in the analysis process and during tests. A considerable investment that is difficult to quantify also due to time and human resources involved.
EUROPEAN AND FRENCH REGULATIONS FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF THE ENVIRONMENT: as well as Ecolabel and ISO 14001 voluntary certifications, Novoceram also abides to other stringent controls as it is an ICPE site (Installation Classée pour la Protection de l’Environnement) and, as such, is also subject to additional regulations. For this reason the product site must comply with the regulations in force that synthesizes the requirements in terms of respect for the environment and statutory management requirements in accordance to four basic concepts:
- • Emissions of noise and vibrations: the law clearly defines maximum thresholds
- • Atmospheric pollution: the release of powders and fluorine must be lower than the threshold set forth by the law as certified by the controls that are carried out every year by an external authorised institute.
- • Water pollution: water consumption is monitored and no sewage can be re-introduced into the environment, rain water and drainage water are subject to regulations in force in the country.
- • Waste: all waste must be separated and tracked.
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The story of Novoceram started in 1863 in Saint-Vallier-sur-Rhône. With its 4 million m2 of annual production, 40 million Euros of sales, a production site surface of 90,000 m2 and 170 employees, the company is one of the leading producers of ceramic tiles in France. The first French ceramic tile company to obtain the Ecolabel award and the only French ceramic producer to obtain the ISO14001 certification for its environmental management system, since 2000 Novoceram has been part of the Gruppo Concorde, one of the largest producers of ceramic tiles in Europe.
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